Halloween / cinema advertising guide / UK

03.04.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Halloween
AKA
The Babysitter Murders (USA - working title) | Halloween: la notte delle streghe [The night of the witches] (Italy)
Year of Film
1978
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews, John Michael Graham, Nancy Stephens
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
Cinema advertising guide
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
9" x 11" + A4
SS or DS
--
Tagline
--

This is a rare cinema advertising guide for the original UK release of John Carpenter‘s seminal horror film Halloween. This guide was, as the name suggests, intended to be sent to managers of the Odeon cinema chain around the UK. It contains multiple pages of suggestions for how to market the film to local audiences and includes competition examples that could have been sent to local newspapers for publication. The guide consists of one outer cover that features unique artwork of the knife-wielding killer (a crude depiction of Michael Myers), as well as printed bloody fingerprints on the back. Inside there’s a stapled together guide which is printed on A4 paper in two colours. The other two items are competition examples, ready for newspapers to print.

The guide was put together, I believe, by the distributor (Miracle films) in conjunction with a company called Marler Haley. They were known for their work with the Odeon chain of cinemas during the 1970s and early 1980s and would create printed items for the promotion of films, which included a quad (30″ x 40″) and typically a set of four double-crown (20″ x 30″) posters, as well as larger exhibition stands and other items. A number of films were promoted this way, including Disney releases such as Tron, the first Star Wars film, and some James Bond outings.

Note the last few pages which detail the kinds of items the cinema managers could order to promote the film, including a ‘roof rack’ display to sit atop a car, trailers, posters and radio ads. The guide features a similar colour scheme and some of the imagery that can be found on the Marler Haley quad, which I have here, and the accompanying double-crown set (which I don’t yet own). Also note there’s an image of the ultra-scarce (but rather boring) Halloween teaser quad, which is text-only and had a panel for cinema staff to manually update the time left until the film arrived. It also features an image of a display stand that has the Marler Haley set along with the final release, full-colour quad that I have in the collection here.

If anyone knows anything more about how and where these guides were put together, please get in touch.

An independent release, financed by one man (Moustapha Akkad), the film was produced on a low budget of $300k and would go on to gross over $70m worldwide. Halloween kickstarted a franchise that would run for seven sequels (and a recent remake) and the masked character of Michael Myers would enter the horror pantheon as one of its most memorable monsters.

Carpenter wrote the screenplay with his then girlfriend, producer Debra Hill and is often credited as being the the first in a long line of slasher films, although films like Alfred Hitchock’s Psycho were obvious inspirations. The film has little in the way of gore or violence and instead uses clever camera work and sound design to brilliant effect, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats throughout. There have been countless imitations over the years but few that match up to the taught, perfectly-paced original Halloween.

The rest of the John Carpenter items I’ve collected can be seen by clicking here.

 

Operation of the Gun / Thailand

29.03.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Operation of the gun
AKA
ผ่าปืน (Thai - original title)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Chalong Pakdeevijit
Starring
Sombat Metanee, Naowarat Yuktanan, Manop Aswathep
Origin of Film
Thailand
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Thriller
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Tongdee Panumas
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
21 7/16" x 30 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Dramatic and detailed artwork by Tongdee Panumas features on this poster for the release of the Thai film ‘Operation of the Gun’ (AKA Gun Cut, AKA Rifle, AKA Gunpowder). The original title is ผ่าปืน and it is unlikely to have ever been officially released in markets like the US and UK so the English title is up for debate. If anyone knows for sure whether it was given an official international title, please get in touch.

I know very little about the film, other than that it stars the famous Thai actor Sombat Metanee, who at one point was in the Guinness Book of Records for the most appearances by an actor. It’s calculated that he has starred in over 2000 film and TV shows during his career. In the year this film was released (1980) he starred  Western audiences may have seen him appear in the Thai film Tears of the Black Tiger (2000). It was directed by Chalong Pakdeevijit (ฉลอง ภักดีวิจิตร) – the actual Western spelling of his name varies considerably from what I can tell – who directed a number of action thrillers, as this Thai Wikipedia page indicates.

The film is available to watch in its entirety on YouTube, should you so wish (and have an understanding of Thai).

Tongdee Panumas was an incredibly prolific film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Note that this particular copy of the poster has been hand-signed by Tongdee and I bought it from someone who had visited Thailand, met the artist and had him sign a few posters. I’ve seen photographic evidence that it’s a genuine signature.

Escape From New York / press kit / UK

27.03.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Escape From New York
AKA
New York 1997 ( France / Japan - English title) | John Carpenter's Die Klapper-Schlange [Rattlesnake] (Germany)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Season Hubley, Tom Atkins
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
Press kit
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
8" x 11"
SS or DS
--
Tagline
--

This is the original UK press kit for the release of John Carpenter’s sci-fi classic Escape From New York. I’d have a hard time choosing my favourite of the three (fictional) characters Carpenter and Kurt Russell created together; R.J. MacReady (The Thing), Jack Burton (Big Trouble in Little China) and Snake Plissken (EFNY). The latter is the gruff former war hero and convicted bank robber who is sent onto the island of Manhattan of an alternative 1997, which has been sealed-off as a lawless prison, in search of the American President whose plane crashed there after a terrorist attack. He’s arguably the coolest of the three and is a character much imitated in other lesser films featuring a reluctant hero.

As the name suggests, a press kit was supplied by the film’s distributors to members of the press for the purpose of promoting the release. It offers an outline of the story along with details of the cast and filmmakers involved. This kit also included four 8×10″ stills from the film, with each one having a short cast list and synopsis taped to the back. Some press kits are significantly larger and more detailed than this one so I suspect there may have been other parts to it, but I’m not certain.

 

The rest of the John Carpenter posters I’ve collected can be seen by clicking here.

Anguish / one sheet / USA

22.03.17

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Anguish
AKA
Angustia (Spain - original title)
Year of Film
1987
Director
Bigas Luna
Starring
Zelda Rubinstein, Michael Lerner, Talia Paul, Àngel Jové, Clara Pastor, Isabel García Lorca
Origin of Film
Spain
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
"The eyes of the city are mine"

A striking image of actress Zelda Rubinstein (best known for her appearance in 1982’s Poltergeist) for the 1987 horror, Anguish. The film was directed by the Spaniard Bigas Luna (best known for Jamón, Jamón, 1992) and was filmed in his native country. As well as Rubinstein, the film also features the American actor Michael Lerner, but the majority of the cast are Spanish actors playing American. Written by Luna, the film has a fairly original concept which sees a film within a film, featuring Rubinstein and Lerner, unfold in front of a Los Angeles cinema audience. They are then subjected to their own horror attack, seemingly influenced by the film they are watching.

Rubinstein plays the character of Mother in the projected film, which is called The Mommy. For reasons that aren’t exactly clear, she uses hypnotism to control her loner son John (Lerner) and coerce him into killing people then removing their eyeballs. The Mommy features a frankly bonkers hypnotism sequence which apparently has an effect on some of the audience in the Los Angeles cinema. John is shown to visit a cinema showing the classic film The Lost World where he proceeds to attack staff and audience members. At the same time, an agitated man in the LA cinema kills two women working at the front desk before entering the auditorium and shooting at the audience. Eventually the police are called and a hostage scene develops. All the while The Mommy continues to play on the screen.

Anguish doesn’t hold back on the gore and there are a few shocking scenes which serve to keep the audience on edge. Although the concept of a film within a film is not new, the way Luna edits and develops the story gives it a unique feel. It’s certainly worth a watch, despite it’s clearly low budget origins.

The image of Rubinstein in front of a wall of eyes must have been mocked up for this poster as I watched it recently and didn’t see anything like this. It’s possible that there was a deleted scene with it in but it feels too mocked up for that.

Le Cercle Rouge / quad / 2003 re-release / UK

20.03.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Le Cercle Rouge
AKA
The Red Circle (international English title)
Year of Film
1970
Director
Jean-Pierre Melville
Starring
Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, Yves Montand, Paul Crauchet, Paul Amiot, Pierre Collet, André Ekyan, Jean-Pierre Posier, François Périer
Origin of Film
France | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Drama | Thriller
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
BFI Re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
2003
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is a British quad poster for a 2003 re-release of the classic French crime-thriller Le Cercle Rouge, which was coordinated by the British Film Institute. The film was the penultimate release from the legendary French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville who was born in 1917 and worked as a fighter in the French resistance during World War II. Melville was infatuated with American cinema and in particular films in the crime and thriller genres. After failing to break into the established French film industry he decided to become an independent, even setting up his own studio in a suburb of Paris. He soon became known for his film noir crime dramas and saw great success with titles such as Bob le Flambeur (1956), Le Doulos (1962) and Le Samouraï (1967). 

Le Cercle Rouge saw Melville reunited with the French superstar actor Alain Delon, who had appeared in Le Samourai, and the cast also included the celebrated Italian-French actor Yves Montand. Other actors in the very male-heavy cast include Bourvil (known by a single moniker), best known for comedy features, and Italian actor Gian Maria Volontè, a collaborator with Sergio Leone during the 1960s. Delon plays Corey, a man with a criminal background who is released from prison, but not before a corrupt guard tells him about an ‘easy’ job that could net him big money. At the same time, the audience also sees a prisoner named Vogel escape from a moving train and evade recapture by Commissaire Mattei (Bourvil).

Eventually the two men are brought together when Vogel happens to climb into the boot of Corey’s car whilst on the run in the French countryside. The two establish a companionship of sorts and Corey details the possible heist. Vogel likes what he hears and suggests a sharpshooter who will be able to help them in the form of Jansen (Montand), a former police officer and noted crackshot. Once plans are in place, the trio pull off the heist in a famous 25 minute sequence in which not a word is spoken by any of the characters. Once the loot is secure the film then follows their attempts to sell it with Commissaire Mattei still in hot pursuit. The film was a critical success despite initially being released in some markets (such as the US) in a truncated version that saw over 40 minutes removed. Today the film is a cult favourite and celebrated as one of Melville’s best films. 

I’m unsure who is responsible for the design of this quad so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Veronika Voss / one sheet / USA

15.03.17

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Title
Veronika Voss
AKA
Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss [The Longing of Veronika Voss] (Germany - original title)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring
Rosel Zech, Hilmar Thate, Cornelia Froboess, Annemarie Düringer, Doris Schade, Erik Schumann, Peter Berling, Günther Kaufmann
Origin of Film
Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Vincent Topazio
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking portrait by the artist Vincent Topazio features on this one sheet for the US release of Veronika Voss. The film was the penultimate one by the legendary German director, screenwriter, producer and actor Rainer Werner Fassbinder. It was released the year of his untimely death (he was only 37) and his final film as director, Querelle, was released posthumously the following year.

The film was an entry in what Fassbinder named the BRD Trilogy; three films all focusing on a single female character and set in West Germany following World War II. BRD is an acronym for Bundesrepublik Deutschland, which was the official name of the country during that period. The first of the trilogy, The Marriage of Maria Braun, was released in 1979 and then, rather confusingly, Fassbinder named Lola (1981) as the third film in the trilogy before Veronika Voss was released in 1982. The films have no narrative connection but have thematic consistencies, with all three focusing on a particular woman in a post-war BRD during the ‘economic miracle’. All three of the stories were originated by Fassbinder but the screenplays were written by frequent collaborator Peter Märthesheimer and his then partner Pea Fröhlich.

Veronika Voss is loosely based on the ill-fated life of actress Sybille Schmitz and the titular lead is played by Rosel Zech. Set in Munich in 1955, the film finds Voss struggling to reclaim former glories and unable to win the kinds of roles she played whilst working for the UFA production company during the war. One night she bumps into sports journalist Robert Krohn (Hilmar Thate) who isn’t aware of her past. The pair strike up a romance, despite Krohn being in a relationship with girlfriend Henriette (Cornelia Froboess). Soon he realises that Voss is addicted to opiates that are being administered by a mysterious neurologist called Dr. Marianne Katz (Annemarie Düringer) who Voss believes is caring for her. When Krohn begins to investigate he realises that Katz is actually bleeding Voss of her finances and is keeping her doped up and under control.

The art on this one sheet is by Vincent Topazio and, although it doesn’t feature his unique signature, he is credited for it on the vinyl release of the film’s soundtrack. Very little is known about the artist and there’s barely any information about him online. He looks to have worked on only a handful of film posters, most of which were for independent/arthouse features. Perhaps his most famous poster is the one he worked on for Paul Verhoeven’s The 4th Man.

Adrian Curry highlighted some of Topazio’s work for his Movie Poster of the Week column on Mubi.com. Other titles include the sequel Zulu Dawn and the 1985 American drama Smooth Talk. Curry notes that he believes Topazio was working from the mid-1970s into the 1980s and also created art for magazine editorials. Emovieposter.com has a number of his posters in their archive. If anyone has any more details about him please get in touch.